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Is Stuart Armstrong Heading Out Of St Mary's
Tuesday, 24th Aug 2021 09:52

The official line on Stuart Armstrong is that he has a minor calf injury, but whispers on the rumour mill are suggesting that the Scotsman could be leaving Southampton and that is his reason for being left out of the side.

Saints fans were baffled when Stuart Armstrong was only on the bench at Everton, they were even more perplexed when he didn't even appear on the list of subs for the visit of Manchester United on Sunday and now we have two explanations appearing for his absence.

The official club line is that Armstrong had a minor calf injury and that comes through Adam Blackmore of the BBC, a man who has reported and commentated on Saints for over a decade and knows the club inside out, he usually has his finger on the pulse and he is the man the club will trust when it comes to news.

He can only put out what he has been told but he is also man that is not afraid to put a story out there or tell it how it is.

The second story is saying that Armstrong wants to leave the club and head back to Scotland, this is interesting in that if that is the case it appears that this is little more than a case of home sickness rather than wanting to leave for a "bigger club" as was the case with our three main departures of the summer.

But why would he suddenly want to return to Scotland now, three years after he arrived and at a time when his career has never been at such a high point and at 29 he has become an established Premier League player ?

You could understand if it was for another club in the Premier League tempting him, but having signed a new deal in January of this year that ties him in to 2024 when he will be 32, it does seem strange.

His options in Scotland are basically limited to one club, his former side Celtic, after all he is unlikely to be able to go to their rivals Rangers and the rest of the SPL haven't got enough money but would his old club be in a position to afford him . Saints paid £7.2 million in 2018 and he is worth more than that now, but more to the point would be his wages, Celtic would be unable to get anywhere near what he is on at St Mary's.

So this is a strange situation and one that it seems Saints are standing firm on until the transfer window closes , perhaps in the expectation that should they blink then another suitor will emerge, one in England with the money to do business.

With Ralph Hasenhuttl you are either in or out and at the moment it seems that Stuart Armstrong is out.

However there could be a twist, Saints are said to be interested in Celtic's Ryan Christie, essentially a player very similar to Armstrong in that he can play right across the midfield, could it be that Saints are ready to swap Armstrong for a younger version of himself.

So with the transfer window due to shut in a weeks time there could be some movement in both directions between Celtic and Southampton.

I would suspect most Saints supporters are hoping that Armstrong's absence is nothing more than a calf injury, but this is Southampton FC and nothing is rarely that straightforward at this club, but it seems that should the truth be that Armstrong does want to return back to Scotland for personal reasons, then the situation could be well in hand.

Photo: Action Images



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Peterx added 10:02 - Aug 24
Cant see why one of our best two players (in my opinion) last year would want to leave. Surely only a rumour.
4

BlackAngel added 10:10 - Aug 24
I agree Peterx.
I'd certainly be upset, should Stuart leave. He was one of the few players who could create chances around the oppositions' goal. A very underated player.
7

ElijahK added 10:15 - Aug 24
Well the Newcastle game will probably help to show/tell us of what’s up as if he’s in the starting 11 then it’s almost certainly just a load of rumours, if he’s not in the starting 11 or bench then he’s just probably still injured whilst if he’s on the bench then it will be interesting to see if what happens next as everyone agrees that he should be in the starting 11 over the likes of Djenpo or Walcott
1

davidargyll added 10:38 - Aug 24
I do find the origin of these rumours to be deeply questionable. It seems to go as follows: Slight injury = player on his way out of St Mary’s. For Christ’s sake, where is the evidence? I’d have thought it’s much more likely that he saw our display at the weekend and thought “I want to be part of that” rather than”what a load of sh*te, I must get back to the delights of Glasgow.”
This sounds like a classic case of “Send three and four pence, we are going to a dance!”…
3

VeloSaint added 10:38 - Aug 24
My take was that there is a club interested in him and the story at the weekend re Christie was a journo putting together the if Saints sold Armstrong scenario with a possible replacement (and someone who we've been linked with in the past). I think no chance we'd be interested in Christie otherwise. Now if that club was Celtic and its actually because he wants to return to Scotland that does change things, another Prem club and I think Saints refuse anything but a silly offer. Hope not though, been excellent for us and we need to retain the experience in the squad.
5

VeloSaint added 10:38 - Aug 24
My take was that there is a club interested in him and the story at the weekend re Christie was a journo putting together the if Saints sold Armstrong scenario with a possible replacement (and someone who we've been linked with in the past). I think no chance we'd be interested in Christie otherwise. Now if that club was Celtic and its actually because he wants to return to Scotland that does change things, another Prem club and I think Saints refuse anything but a silly offer. Hope not though, been excellent for us and we need to retain the experience in the squad.
0

SaintPaulVW added 10:39 - Aug 24
It's a tricky one where there are 3 parties involved.

If a player comes out and denies it and then the club sell them anyway they look foolish or a liar.

If they want it to happen, they also need to say nothing or they could jeopardise their final contract payment.

So unless one of the clubs involved breaks cover we probably won't know the truth until the end of the transfer window.

In interviews, Armstrong has always struck me as very thoughtful and intelligent. He is in to the latter stages of his career, so you would have thought that seeing out 3 years on a good contract would be the sensible choice. However, a player does have a family and on a few occasions that can be where the decision is made.

Fingers crossed it is just a knock and we see him on the bench at the weekend.

If he is off, fair enough. We have several good young prospects coming through so it's a position we have cover for. Although I dream of him running at defences, turning them and releasing 'the other' Armstrong with a killer pass. Hopefully not too long now!

2

landsdownsaint added 11:05 - Aug 24
I be wouldn’t have him start in instead of Djenpo who I thinks been a bit shackled by Ralph , Djenpo allways puts a shift in & could be our main man this season
-3

Chesham_Saint added 11:19 - Aug 24
Frankly, at the moment I'd rather he stayed than Ralph....
-2

IanRC added 12:16 - Aug 24
lansdownsaint agree but Walcott ?
-1

saintmark1976 added 13:19 - Aug 24
Blackmore was correct about J W P and I hope he is correct concerning Armstrong. For no other reason than if he stays it means that Walcott is one player further away from making appearances for the first team. As much as Theo comes across as a genuine guy his best is miles behind him regretfully.
4

KriSaint added 13:38 - Aug 24
Either it's a silly "home sickness" rumour or his family in fact do want to go back to Scotland for personal reasons.
If I was living away from my home country, and I learned that a close family member needed me at home, I would ask for a meeting with my boss.

Hopefully this ends well, and Stuey stays with us. I think the club can handle this well if there is any substance in the "home sickness" rumour.
0

ChristchurchSaint added 15:14 - Aug 24
My understanding is that his family are still in Scotland, and his visits home have been curtailed considerably by Covid. This may be where the “homesickness “ has developed from, if so perhaps we should all think about how we would feel in the same situation. Is this where the link with Celtic/Ryan Christie has come from?
1

KilkennySaint added 16:22 - Aug 24
Hopefully just rumours and he stays. His been the most exciting transfer we have made over the past few seasons. His our best attacking option from midfield and we don't have a suitable replacement of his quality ready.
I would put his absence down to injury since his such an integral part of how we play i cant see why Ralph would leave him out when his available, we are such a better team when his playing.
3

underweststand added 15:27 - Aug 25
Looks as though some "pundit " has mad 2+2 eaual more than 5, as surely no-one will expect to see Stu leave now, despite the deniable rumour than we will also sign Ryan Christie, although I think that would be a good deal too.
0


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